Actor Adam Sandler defended his upcoming film Ridiculous Six, suggesting that it was misinterpreted by the Native American actors who walked out of the production over its portrayal of their communities.
"I talked to some of the actors on the set who were there and let them know that the intention of the movie is 100 percent to just make a funny movie," he told ScreenCrush. "It's really about American Indians being good to my character and about their family and just being good people. There's no mocking of American Indians at all in the movie. It's a pro-Indian movie."
About a dozen Native American cast members walked off the set of the movie in April, citing character names like "Beaver's Breath," "Sits-On-Face" and "Never-Wears-Bra," as well as costuming that was more in line with stereotype-driven depictions of tribe members.
According to the script, Sandler's character also asks a Native American woman, "Say honey, how bout after this, we go someplace and I put my peepee in your teepee?"
One actress, Allison Young, said at the time that producers urged them to leave if they were that "sensitive" regarding the material.
"Nothing has changed. We are still just Hollywood Indians," she said.
Netflix, which is distributing the film online through an agreement with Sandler, defended it in a statement, calling it "a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularized, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of — but in on — the joke." But as the International Business Times reported at the time, an online petition calling for the online broadcaster to scuttle the project still gained more than 2,000 signatures.
After remaining largely silent regarding the criticism, Sandler described it as a "misunderstanding" to the Associated Press while promoting his latest theatrical project, Pixels.
"Hopefully when people see it -- whoever was offended on set and walked out -- I hope they realize that, and that's it," he said. "It was kinda taken out of context."